No Daylight to Separate Us

There is no us and them — “there is no daylight to separate us — there’s only us.” We belong to each other.

“Sometimes it’s necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness.” Galway Kinnell

In his book, “Tattoos on the Heart,” Father Gregory Boyle of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles writes, “The wrong idea has taken root in the world. And the idea is this: there just might be lives out there that matter less than other lives.”

Kim and I have been here for eight months now feeling our way through the mission and purpose of this ministry as we have lived and worked with the four young women living in the house, and the truth of Kinnell’s words above are applicable to every one of them. And it’s around those words that we are endeavoring to move forward.

Embrace, encourage, empower

Our strategy is straightforward and simple—we plan to Embrace, Encourage, and Empower—with the goal of helping them to realize the simple truth that they are exactly what God had in mind when God made them.

But as Father Greg has discovered through his work at Homeboy, “…much stands in the way of this liberating truth. You need to dismantle shame and disgrace, coaxing out the truth in people who have grown comfortable believing its opposite.”

There is no us and them

To be honest, there is no us and them—“there is no daylight to separate us— there’s only us.” We belong to each other—we are all kin—and in that spirit of kinship, we should live our lives as Jesus would if he were us—not as a man for others, but as one with them. “In this way we are able to reach in and dismantle those messages of shame and disgrace and rearrange the language so they can imagine themselves as somebody, letting their souls feel their worth.” (Boyle)

The past no longer matters

“All this,” Father Boyle continues, “in the hope that once they inhabit this truth that their past no longer matters, they rediscover their loveliness, and nothing is ever the same.”

Can I get an AMEN?

Mark

Oh How Much Great in the Small

“Oh, how much great in the small!” are words that well up in my soul as I ponder the miracle of life.

What is it about a tiny baby that reduces a man to a babbling, infantile being spewing gibberish and nonsense like he’s lost his mind? This happens to me daily any time I see one of the four babies living here at Mercy House or whenever I spend time with my five-month-old grandson. Now I’m a sizable man – five feet ten, 215 (somewhat soft) muscular pounds – with a bald head, goatee and beard stubble, and the natural expression on my face doesn’t exactly exude friendliness; but put a baby in front of me and all that just seems to melt away.

I sit with my grandson and ponder the miracle that life is. I think about creation and the beauty all around me and I can’t help but marvel at the joy God must have felt as he was bringing it all into existence. I try to imagine what it must be like for a baby newly introduced to the glory of creation with no head knowledge of what anything is, experiencing life as it unfolds before it – the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and feel of it all – and what it must be like trying to make sense of it all. And it’s a wonder that at 56 years of age I’ve made any sense of life at all. I simply sit in awe, overwhelmed by the complexity and enormity of life and the world we live in. And I long for that lack of head knowledge because I earnestly want to hold on to that infantile wonder and awe.

God created all of this for me, for you, for each and every tiny baby brought into this world.

 

Every time I hold a baby in my arms the words that well up in my soul are “Oh, how much great in the small!” and the facade I present to the rest of the world just melts away as the child in me – God’s child – rises to the surface, seeking His face.

Oh, how much great in the small!

Almost all jobs have their perks, but to be surrounded by these tiny beings containing the glory of heaven and angels and God – “Oh how much great in the small!” and “Oh, the glory of it all!”

Mark

Transforming Lives from Crisis to Beautiful

Together, we can make a difference. Transforming lives from crisis to beautiful, abundant living

You have most likely received a post card or seen posts on social media and our website announcing our participation in North Texas Giving Day, our nation’s largest community-wide giving event.

By giving on this day, you join thousands of people across the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex by investing in our community through charitable giving.

Mercy House. Changing Hearts, Changing Lives

Mercy House continues to offer a real, practical solution to the problem of unplanned pregnancy, providing life and hope for the mother as well as the baby. As our residents move from crisis to beautiful, abundant living, we see the cycle of loss broken. The future of two lives are forever changed.

You are making a difference in transforming the lives of young women and giving the gift of life to their children.

Gifts Multiplied

Your gifts are enhanced on North Texas Giving Day! Because of generous corporate sponsorship, every donation of $25 and above given on North Texas Giving Day will be multiplied!

Thanks to generous friends of our ministry, the first $10,000 donated to Mercy House will be matched on a 1-1 basis. That means your gift will be doubled!

Giving is open only between 6:00 a.m. and midnight on Thursday, September 22, 2016.

Donations

To donate, click on the link: https://northtexasgivingday.org/npo/mercy-house-ministries.

Thank you for loving Mercy House!

When courage, genius, and generosity hold hands, all things are possible. –Unknown

 

 

Paint Me a Masterpiece

You have a masterpiece inside of you waiting to get painted.

In his book Orbiting the Giant Hairball, Gordon MacKenzie tells a story in which God comes to us right before we’re born and says:

Hi there! I just dropped by to wish you luck. And to assure you that you and I will be meeting again—soon—before you know it. You’re heading out on an adventure that will be filled with fascinating experiences.

I was wondering, while you’re over there on the other side, would you do me a favor? Would you take this artist’s canvas with you and paint a masterpiece for me? I’d really appreciate that.

I’ve always fancied myself as a non-conformist and a bit of a rebel—never wanting to be like everyone else—forging my own “technique” as I’ve attempted to honor this favor God asks. So when I first came across these words from Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world…” on a t-shirt at a Harvest Crusade back in the mid-nineties, non-conformity became the only color found on my palette.

A lot has changed in the last twenty years—not only in my life and in the knowledge of who I am and why I’m here—but also in my focus on this verse. The rebellious non-conformist in me is still alive and well, but I’ve become a rebel for Christ. And it’s these words, “…but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,” that drive my thoughts and actions as I am consumed by the breadth and the depth of God’s love for me.

Thoreau said, “The question is not what you look at, but what you see.” I look at the same world these days, but I see it differently because of what I allow my mind to dwell upon—truth, honor, justice, peace, charity, purity, beauty, righteousness, forgiveness, grace, faith, hope, and love. These are the colors that make up my palette these days and I am wielding a wider brush as I try to create the biggest, brightest, boldest masterpiece with my life.

Something we’re trying to instill in the young women here at Mercy House is that they have a masterpiece inside them too—one unlike any that has ever been created, or ever will be. And if they go to their grave without painting their masterpiece, it will not get painted. And what a shame that would be.

Mark

Learning to Fly Right-Side Up

Learning to Fly Right-Side Up by Mark Eliff

My friend Dallas Willard writes in The Divine Conspiracy, “Very few people today find Jesus interesting as a person or of vital relevance to the course of their actual lives. He…is thought to be concerned with some feathery realm other than the one we must deal with, and must deal with now.”

Most of us as individuals live at high-speed, as if practicing high-speed maneuvers in a jet fighter—we turn the controls for what we think is a steep ascent and fly straight into the ground—unaware we had been flying upside down.

Because we all behave according to our core thoughts, our misunderstood ideas of Jesus and his gospel keep us from flying right-side up. Jesus invites us to a life that does have a compass that keeps us from flying upside down.

A big part of what inspired me (and my wife) to pull up roots in California and join the Mercy House family here in Texas is the fact that Jesus’ invitation is extended to each of the women who come to live here.

Mercy House, as we see it, moves beyond equipping each of its women for life after pregnancy. Inherently built into the program is an invitation to the women to make a pilgrimage—into the heart and life of God.

Mercy House echoes the gospel of Jesus Christ testifying that the kingdom is open even to these women—many of whom never would have thought they were deserving of anything, much less the kingdom of God—painting a beautiful, strategic portrait of what life could be like as they learn to fly right-side up, becoming fruitful and secure in God’s care.

Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that!

Mark